Supreme Court declines bid to block New Mexico's vaccination mandate for healthcare workers

A justice on the nation's highest court on Dec. 21 rejected a bid to block New Mexico's mandate requiring that many workers in higher-risk environments — including healthcare settings — be vaccinated against COVID-19.

The decision, written by Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch, was made without comment in response to a petition by two women, including Jennifer Blackford, who has years of nursing experience and said she was fired after refusing to get vaccinated.

New Mexico announced its mandate in August for workers in certain medical close-contact congregate settings, including hospitals and nursing homes, with limited exemptions. 

In the appeal to the Supreme Court, Ms. Blackford argued the mandate violated "fundamental liberties of occupational choice and bodily integrity."   

Mr. Gorsuch declined to bring that argument before the full Supreme Court, which also recently rejected a request from healthcare workers to block enforcement of New York's vaccination mandate based on their religious objections, Bloomberg Law reported. The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals had declined to block the New Mexico mandate before the case reached Mr. Gorsuch.

Meanwhile, New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham announced Dec. 2 that healthcare workers must receive a COVID-19 booster dose by Jan. 17 or within four weeks of becoming eligible for one. California has also said it will require that healthcare workers receive a booster.

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